I came across something in Donna Tartt's The Secret History that summed up my experience very neatly. When choosing Hampden College, Richard admits that
"even the name had an austere Anglican cadence, to my ear at least, which yearned hopelessly for England and was dead to the sweet dark rhythms of the little mission towns."Is this, then, something experienced by all those in love with English literature but stranded in the colonies? There is something about the literature of a place that imbues the land with an alluring magic that calls to people across the sea. Perhaps the enchantment is a two way process. Perhaps the magic of the land leaks into those who brood upon it. If Keats were living in Arizona, do you think he would have written La Belle Dame sans Merci?:
But when Keats wrote this, some of that enchantment went back into the land that inspired it. Every piece of writing about England adds to the magic of the place. Hey, I'm not saying other places aren't great too. I'm just saying that there's a special magic about that."I met a lady in the meads,Full beautiful, a fairy's child;Her hair was long, her foot was light,And her eyes were wild."